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How John Malone Intends to Get Consumers to Pony Up

By admin | November 30, 2009

John Malone, the chairman of Liberty Media Corp. and Liberty Global Inc., has some idea about what to do with the problem of cable TV and the Internet.

Cable networks are frantically trying to find a solution to consumer’s increasing expectation of instant, play-anywhere shows – without losing the precious fees that they get from cable subscribers.

If you can get cable for free online, why would you pay for cable on your TV?

Malone has some ideas. And he might just be the man to do it, considering he’s also the guy who came up with the concept of paying for television in the first place.

After all, there are still plenty of channels that are available for free, and yet thousands of people across the U.S. pay a monthly bill for extra channels. That concept was completely foreign when Malone first showed up on the scene – but he sold them with the idea of better content being available on cable TV. You want a better product, you pay a better price.

So what to do about getting consumers to pay for cable TV now that it seems shows are heading right back into free-for-all territory? Malone thinks the key might be in how consumers get to view their videos, which is to say through the Internet connection itself.

Online video is only worth viewing if you have a fast enough connection to keep it from freezing every five seconds – which may be where the money starts to be spent and earned. The other idea is pay-per-view, or a subscription, perhaps using Hulu as an aggregate.

If Malone can get consumers to pay for TV they get for free a second time around, it’ll be one of the most impressive accomplishments in media for anyone’s lifetime.

Topics: drtv, media buying | No Comments »